KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Swan release events to be held at two area lakes

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Wilderness officials say they plan to release a total of eight swans into two southern Iowa lakes this month, as part of a restoration effort. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Adams County Conservation Board will release four trumpeter swans at east Lake Icaria boat ramp, located six-miles north of Corning on Highway 148 at 9-a.m. Tuesday, May 8th, and, four trumpeter swans will be released in Union County May 9th at Summit Lake, one mile west of Creston on Highway 25. Both events are open to the public.

The birds are being released as part of a statewide trumpeter swan restoration effort. Less than 70 trumpeter swans remained in the lower 48 states by the early 1930s. Both release events will feature a 20-minute presentation on the swans, which includes an opportunity to touch and view the birds up close. Trumpeter swans are the largest North American waterfowl. They can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan.

DNR plans Trumpeter Swans release at Summit Lake

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will release four trumpeter swans at Summit Lake, one mile west of Creston on Highway 25 at 10-a.m., on May 9th. The release site is the boat ramp on the south side of the road. The release is open to the public and will take place rain or shine. The event includes a 20-minute swan/wetland presentation, a unique opportunity to touch and view the swans up close, and a historic photo opportunity with the kids.

As the largest North American waterfowl, these magnificent all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan.

Trumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880s. By the early 1930s, only 69 trumpeter swans remained in the lower 48 states. The trumpeter swans being released are part of the DNR’s statewide trumpeter swan restoration effort.

“Iowa By Trail” mobile app released

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A website and mobile application that provide an interactive map of bike trails in central Iowa is being released today (Thursday). The free app is being released by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) and spokesperson Hannah Inman says it’ll be expanded statewide in time for RAGBRAI in July. Inman says “This app is pretty neat because it’ll have all 1,800 miles of trails in the State of Iowa on it,” Inman says. “You’ll be able to geo-locate yourself and follow yourself on the trail, keeping track of your mileage, how fast you’re going, and what trails you’ve completed.”Trails App 2

The I-N-H-F is also working with local communities across the state to build “points of interest” into the app.  “As we do that, you’ll be able to find the hidden gems, the great businesses along the trails, as well some cultural, historical, and natural resource information that are unique to the trails,” Inman says. Private donations and grants have helped pay for the development of the “Iowa By Trail” mobile app and website. Inman says it’s cost about $200,000 and there’s more to raise.

“We have fundraised for the marketing, the content creation, the Apple, and the website version. Now, all we’re doing is fundraising for the Android version and we’re hoping that will be completed and out this fall,” Inman says. The West Des Moines-based company Shift Interactive created the “Iowa By Trail” app.

(more info. at www.inhf.org/iowabytrail.cfm)   (Radio Iowa)

USDA Report 05-01-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 1st, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Cass County Extension Report 04-30-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 30th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Planting off to slow start due to weather


April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Weather has the planting season off to a slow start. The U-S-D-A crop report says the rains have kept farmers out of the fields, but improved the soil moisture in most areas. Soil temperatures remain a concern for farmers planting in northern Iowa. The report says 15-percent of the projected state corn crop has been planted — which is 13-percent ahead of last year — but 18-percent behind the five year average. Some corn has started to emerge.

Soybean planting has yet to fully take off as there were just scattered reports of beans being planted last week.

(Radio Iowa)

Pott. County Trail system moving forward

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Trails Board is preparing the next steps for developing county-wide trails. In a press release, the board says they are engaging an engineering firm to begin surveying, designing and preparing cost estimates for Phase 1. The board continues to talk with private citizens asking for donations of any size including cash donations and gifts of grain or land and applying for various grants as they come available.

The Pottawattamie County Trails Board has been meeting regularly for the past few years to develop trails throughout the county and a small group of regular participants have been working hard to create a county-wide network to benefit all residents. Based on the plan, which was developed by the committee through public participation with assistance from the National Park Service RTCA program, the board has begun working to raise money and finalize the Phase 1 route from Council Bluffs to Neola and a second route from Council Bluffs to Hitchcock Nature Center. Both of the routes total nearly 27 miles and will be 10’ wide poured concrete trails.

The trails board has raised nearly $1 million toward their goal with the help of grants, local funding efforts and the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors support. The committee has also partnered with the Pottawattamie County Conservation Foundation as a way to receive donations until the board receives their 501©3 status. The plan going forward is to begin building phase 1 as early as spring 2015.

If you would like to donate to the project or volunteer to assist, contact the Pottawattamie County Trails Board members through their Facebook page by search “Pottawattamie County County-wide Trail Plan.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Burn bans rescinded in Mills & Page Counties

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The last two southwest Iowa Counties with bans in-place for open burning have been rescinded. The State Fire Marshal’s Office Friday, announced bans which had been in-place since March 19th for Mills and Page Counties were removed today (Friday, April 25th).

And, while there are currently no counties in Iowa under a Burn Ban, area fire officials are asking residents to be very careful when making the decision to conduct controlled burns. Area grass lands and fields are still very dry. Low humidity and forecast strong winds this weekend can cause a controlled burn to quickly become uncontrolled. Care should also be used when using fire pits and grills.

Rain in the forecast for later in the weekend should help to minimize the threat of any explosive fire danger.

Wildflower Walk and Geocaching event to be held in Cass County, Saturday

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Persons looking for something to do Saturday in Cass County, have opportunities to get outside and enjoy the forecast mild conditions. The Cass County Conservation Board is holding two event events. The first, is a Wildflower Walk at the Pellett Memorial Woods, beginning at 9-a.m.  Join Naturalist Lora Kanning for a walk through the early Spring wild flowers, where you will learn their names, uses and history. Pellett Memorial Gardens is located one-half mile north and three-quarters of a mile east of the KJAN Studios, on North Olive Street.Cass Co Conservation Board

The second event Saturday, runs from 10-a.m. until Noon, also at the Pellett Memorial Woods. It’s a Wildflower Geocaching Walk, where GPS units and guides will be available to help you locate early Spring wildflowers. Please pre-register by calling 712-249-2372, to obtain a GPS unit.

Iowa DNR: Rainfall last week not enough to replenish groundwater levels

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Above normal rainfall was received over the last two weeks in Iowa, with the statewide average was 2.3 inches, as compared to the normal 1.7 inches. However, in its latest Water Summary Report, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources notes more, slow steady rains are needed to bring us out of the drought. The National Drought Monitor indicates improvement in all categories of drought conditions across the state over the past two weeks. Over 35 percent of the state continues to be rated in moderate drought, and just over 5 percent is rated in severe drought. Nearly 60 percent of the state, however, is now shown without drought or just abnormally dry. Those driest areas continue to be two small locations in west-central and southeast Iowa.610bda9a82656951-0

The DNR says that although shallow groundwater levels in southern central, eastern and northeastern Iowa have benefitted from the rainfall, parts of southwest and northwest Iowa received very little rain and shallow groundwater levels are much lower than the previous April. Water supply operators in northwest Iowa are seeing reduced production, dropping water levels and historically low levels.610bda9a82656951-1

Stream flow has improved statewide, but remains below average. Northeast Iowa remains the wettest, while northwest Iowa is the driest. Groundwater conditions are still low across much of the state, but normal spring rains should continue to bring improvement.
Compared to a year ago, shallow groundwater levels are one to four feet lower in Johnson, Jefferson, Lucas and Montgomery counties, and the same or slightly higher in Marshall, Fayette, Crawford and O’Brien counties.

Compared to two years ago, shallow groundwater levels are 2 to 12 feet lower in Crawford, O’Brien, Jefferson, Johnson, Lucas and Montgomery counties.